The canine teeth, also known as cuspids, are critical for biting and tearing food. They have some of the longest and strongest roots of any teeth. Canines are also essential to the development of your overall bite and the alignment of your other teeth. As a child grows, the permanent teeth erupt at different ages, and it is important to make sure there is enough space for the canines to grow in normally.
Unfortunately, canines are more likely to become impacted than other teeth. Impacted teeth are trapped partially or entirely beneath the gums, typically because there isn’t enough space for the impacted tooth to grow. Impacted teeth have a higher risk of causing infection, and if not treated promptly, they can become stuck in the gums. Luckily, oral surgeons and orthodontists can help prevent and treat impacted teeth. If you experience an impacted tooth, Dr. Gregory McGee and Dr. Drew Steel at Rio Grande Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center are highly qualified to address the issue and assists local orthodontists throughout Albuquerque, NM, in guiding the tooth to its proper position.
Why do teeth become impacted?
Sometimes the reason that teeth become impacted is unclear, but usually one of the following reasons leads to the impaction:
- Baby teeth not falling out in time
- Lack of space or overcrowding
- Growth blocking the tooth’s path
- Extra teeth in the mouth
Most of the time, impacted teeth can be detected and addressed early through an X-ray evaluation during a routine checkup with a general dentist. Once detected, an oral surgeon may be required to treat the issue efficiently and restore healthy growth.
Treatment and Prevention
If identified early enough, routine dental or orthodontic work can address impacted teeth. When caught early on, braces or simple extractions can provide the necessary room for healthy growth.
But if the canines do not have space to grow in after the roots start developing (around age 11 or 12), surgical treatment may be necessary to help the canines come into position. The teeth may never grow into their proper place if trapped beneath the gums for tooth long. When this is the case, your oral surgeon may be able to extract the impacted teeth and replace them with dental implants, which will look and feel just like natural teeth.
Exposure and Bonding Treatment
If clearing the growth track does not help the canines grow in, exposure and bonding may be recommended to treat the impacted canines. Exposure and bonding is a unique treatment option that requires a team-based approach between an orthodontist and oral surgeon. To begin the treatment, an orthodontist will first clear space for the impacted tooth using braces. Once the orthodontics have created sufficient space, the oral surgeon will complete the exposure procedure. Your oral surgeon will carefully move the gums covering the tooth and remove anything that is blocking the path of tooth growth. Next, the oral surgeon attaches a small bracket and tiny chain to the newly exposed tooth. Once the surgical site has healed, the orthodontist will use the chain to slowly and gently guide the tooth into its proper position.
Treatment for Impacted Canines in Albuquerque, NM
At Rio Grande Oral Surgery, we treat patients of all ages, including young children and teens. If your child develops an impacted tooth, our friendly team is happy to help you determine the best treatment. Drs. McGee and Steel are highly experienced in performing tooth extractions and exposure and bonding procedures, and we work with dental professionals all over Albuquerque, NM. We look forward to providing your child with compassionate care and supporting their smile for years to come!